Phantom: NSO’s new iPhone and Android smartphone hacking tool

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Phantom Spyware can crack iPhone and Android smartphone PIN and fingerprint easily

NSO Group of Israel is best known for its Pegasus spyware is now pitching is new spying tool called Phantom. If you remember Pegasus spyware that can be installed on devices running some versions of iOS as well as on Android smartphones.

It made news in August 2016 when authorities tried to install it on an iPhone belonging to Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist. Pegasus is capable of reading text messages, tracking calls, collecting passwords, tracing the location of the phone, accessing the target device’s microphone, and video camera(s), and gathering information from apps.

Pegasus was mostly sold to government agencies around the world and was mostly used by the authorities to spy on activists and journalists. Now the same company has come up with a new tool called Phantom. Motherboard accessed the brochure detailing the features of the new Phantom spying tool.

The brochure has been published by Westbridge Technologies, the American arm of NSO Group. “Turn your target’s smartphone into an intelligence gold mine,” the brochure reads. Westbridge was apparently pitching the Phantom spyware to San Diego Police Department (SDPD).  The news confirms NSO Group’s attempts to enter the U.S. market, and shows apparent appetite from U.S. police for such tools, with one law enforcement official describing the hacking technology as “awesome.”

Another government employee said that the Phantom spyware tool was a new avatar of Pegasus spyware. NSO had rebranded the Pegasus as Phantom for the U.S. market according to him.

NSO Group scouting buyers for Phantom - its new iPhone and Android smartphone hacking tool

The newer version of Phantom spyware can overcome encryption, SSL, proprietary protocols and any hurdle introduced by the complex communications world states the brochure. This means the Phantom tool can crack iPhone and Android smartphones PIN and fingerprint lock. The brochure states that Phantom operates over-the-air and doesn’t need the support of the U.S. telecom providers like Verizon, T-Mobile, etc. Just like Pegasus, it can monitor your phone calls and VOIP calls in realtime. It can also monitor your Skype, WhatsApp, Facebook applications. It supports almost all smartphones including iPhones. Further, the NSO Group promises to incorporate client-specific hacking capabilities in the tool to make it more saleable.

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